Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Assault Prevention

Note: This post is not about Engineering. However, the topic is too important. I have to write about it.

Turmoil: horror, pity, anger, fear, responsibility. Those feelings swirled inside me. Plus, my butt hurt from sitting in the hard wood chair in my son’s elementary school library. I was attending a parent in-service about assault prevention and I had no idea that what I was about to be told would provide more support for my decision to raise my children from a place of respect. Support that could help prevent assault.

The Center for Assault Prevention is an international non-profit organization whose mission is: to reduce the vulnerability of children and adolescents to neglect, physical, emotional and sexual assault through the provision of prevention education and advocacy. The curriculum seemed robust, remarkable, and inspiring. It includes a three-pronged approach to empowering people to be safe, strong and free: educate parents, educate children, and educate school staff.

I was there to learn about prevention techniques I could use and to learn what they would be teaching my son.

The purpose of the first part of the lesson was to make clear that assault is a clear and present danger that faces us all. I will spare you the scary statistics and the infuriating stories of ill-treated victims. Suffice it to say that as parents and care-givers we have an important responsibility to educate ourselves and our children about how to be safe, strong and free. 

The second part of the lesson focused on HOW we can help prevention. Our teacher spent 90 minutes discussing all the topics in the resource handbook. She outlined the basic principles from which they built their curriculum. Then she described the things we can do as responsible adults. Lastly, she demonstrated the age-appropriate role play she does with our children. For the sake of brevity, I will focus on the two things that stuck with me the most both of which have their roots in respect.

CAP describes these as fundamental rights that all humans have:

The Right to be Safe 
Every child has the right to live a life 
Free of abuse. 

The Right to be Strong 
Every child has the right to be strong 
In body, mind, and spirit. 

The Right to be Free 
Every child has the right to be free 
To love themselves, to love others, 
And to take advantage of 
All the opportunities life has to offer. 

If you agree then read on. How do we ensure that our children have and maintain their three basic human rights? 

Well, there are pages and pages of developed ideas and you can request a training to come to your school or organization. I encourage both of those things! I believe that no amount of reading will be as powerful as hiring your local CAP to educate you in person. But until you have that opportunity I will get you started.

The thing that stuck with me most, and it listed as CAP’s #1 Parenting Tip is this:

"Listen to your children - Good communication is the best antidote for assault."

It seems so simple. Listening, right? But it takes practice. And one of the most profound phrases the CAP teacher said that both made me face-palm but also made me think, “I’ve GOT to share that!”…that phrase is: 

 "I believe you.” 

 It can be used in so many situations, not least of which is listening to a child report inappropriate behavior.

So, please consider the gravity of our responsibility to educate ourselves and our children about how to be safe, strong, and free. Surf over to CAP’s webpage and read around. There is a vast amount of knowledge to be had. 

And, lastly, since many of my readers have found me through Janet Lansbury's site, I want to encourage you to keep learning from her. Because CAP tells parents:

"When you treat your baby with love and respect, you are already doing the very best thing you can do to safety proof him or her!" (CAP Adult Resource Package, p. 41)

I think that will resonate with you.

No comments:

Post a Comment